LG Smart TV - Second Screen Support

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LG Smart TV 2013 – Second Device Connectivity

The last part of LG’s Smart TV proposition for 2013 we need to look at

is its support for phones and tablets, or second screen as they’re often referred to. And this is mostly another success

story for the Korean brand.

For

starters, the number of ways for connecting secondary devices to your

TV is impressive. There’s the normal DLNA route, of course, which can

work directly from within the TV’s internal interface or via LG’s

Android and iOS LG TV Remote app.

The set also supports the

DLNA-based Miracast system, so that you can network the TV with

Smartphones and tablets without needing an external router connection.

Many

smart LG models also support NFC tagging; you just put an NFC sticker

provided with the TV somewhere convenient, and ‘touch’ your NFC-capable

second device to that sticker whenever you want to mirror your device to

your TV screen.

Finally you can connect your phone to the TV

using an MHL (Mobile HD Link) cable so you can play back content on your

phone on the TV screen in HD, and even control the phone via the TV’s

Magic Remote. Using this cabled mode means your phone is charged while

it’s connected, too.

LG 2013 Smart TV system

LG 2013 Smart TV System – TV Remote App

Exploring

LG’s latest TV Remote Android/iOS app, it’s nice to find that unlike

Samsung’s Smart device support, LG has managed to get all of its key

features into a single app. This app takes a little learning your way

round in navigational terms, perhaps, but it’s attractively presented

for all that, and actually proves pretty easy to use after a few minutes

of experimentation.

Linking your smart device to the TV is

exceptionally easy. You just fire the app up, press device scan, and

provided your LG TV is on it will instantly appear in the app window.

Then you just select the TV’s icon, enter into your smart device the six

digit code that appears on the TV screen, and that’s it. You’re

connected.

The

highlight feature of the TV Remote app is ‘Mini TV’, whereby you can

mirror what’s showing on the TV – so long as you’re watching the

Freeview tuner and not one of the AV inputs – on your Smart device. This

worked very well on our iPad, with decent picture quality and no

stuttering (though it’s a shame LG doesn’t provide twin-tuner support

for the feature like some rival brands do).

However,

Mini TV wouldn’t work on a resident Sony Xperia Z Android phone. Though

it does work on other Android devices – depending on which model of TV

you’ve got… We’ve requested a full device update from LG, and will

update this review here with the information if it’s forthcoming.

We

have to say, though, that we hate this sort of confusion. Obviously

it’s arguably mostly Android’s fault for not really being a platform at

all in the same unified way iOS is, but we still think it should be a

basic requirement of brands that make Android apps for their devices to

ensure the app delivers the same level of functionality to every Android

device. Otherwise you’re effectively penalising people for the type of

phone or tablet they’ve elected to buy.

LG 2013 Smart TV system

LG 2013 Smart TV System – Intuitive App Support

Anyway, rant over, let’s quickly explore the rest of the TV Remote app’s

features. One really cool one is the facility to take a snapshot of

what’s playing on the Mini TV screen and attach it to a tweet or

Facebook post – all from within the app.

Also

highly useful is the way that pressing the Smart icon on the app home

screen calls up the Smart hub on the TV and a touch pad control system

on your Smart device for handily shifting the onscreen cursor around.

Actually,

pressing most of the other buttons on the App interface also calls up

the same on-TV smartscreen menu/smart device swipe control screen

combination, a repetitive approach which perhaps feels a little

unsophisticated.

The homescreen also features ever-present

buttons for changing volume and channel, while the swipe control screen

also features a button that turns the pad into a game controller.

Swipe

left from the app home screen and you get to a Mini Home menu. This

rather brilliantly presents you with access icons for all the services

found in the Premium and My Apps (the apps you’ve got set along the

bottom of the Smart TV screen) sections of the Smart Hub; just press an

icon here, and the relevant feature will fire up on the TV.
LG 2013 Smart TV system

LG 2013 Smart TV System – Second-screen Searching

Actually,

in a couple of cases – YouTube and Netflix – you can use the app on

your Smart device first to find what you want to watch on the service’s

servers before sending the ‘play this’ command to the TV. Such ‘off-TV’

browsing is always hugely appreciated.

Also present on the Mini

Home screen is a link to a cutely presented SmartShare interface for

sharing your own video, photo and music multimedia content with the TV.

Again, being able to browse for stuff first on your second screen before

calling the TV into play is a hugely useful, family-friendly touch.

Overall,

it’s difficult to see how LG could have done much more with its smart

app – aside from delivering uniform functionality across Android

devices, of course!

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